Indigenous Peoples Concerns Committee (IPC)

Boulder is among very few monthly meetings in the US that have standing committees focused on Indigenous Peoples. Our Indigenous Peoples’ Concerns Committee (IPCC) began its work in 1997, and has been involved in a variety of activities over the decades. In some other regions of the US, Quaker’s Indigenous Peoples’ concerns work is conducted through Yearly Meetings. Boulder’s yearly meeting (Intermountain Yearly Meeting, IMYM) has no such regional effort.

Our current activities include continuing to listen to Indigenous Peoples and educating ourselves and providing information to the Boulder Meeting and IMYM. We have been educating and encouraging meetings to develop land acknowledgements and have worked within the Boulder Meeting to do so. Recently, we joined the Joint Indian Affairs Committee, comprised of representations from many yearly meetings. The goal of the committee is to share, encourage and support efforts across the country.

Moving forward, depending on the counsel of Indigenous allies and the capacity and desires of our committee membership, we see the potential to continue efforts in Boulder and to spread knowledge of our efforts across IMYM around land acknowledgements and land reparations. We also want to continue addressing the ongoing consequences of the Indian boarding schools and offensive mascots. We want to explore ways to increase our personal knowledge and to make more connections with Indigenous Peoples groups.

We wish to increase our understanding and appreciation of Indigenous peoples, to learn from them and their cultures, and to support them in exercising their rights and achieving their goals, as way opens. By “as way opens,” we mean that we are responsive to what is asked of us by Indigenous Peoples rather than determining on our own what we believe we should do for their benefit. We seek to act in accord with the Quaker testimonies and to grow in our understanding of “right relationship.” We undertake projects as we are led by the Spirit, within the constraints of our human and material resources.

Our focus is on “peoples” as cultural groups, whose rights are recognized in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We share their concerns and seek to support their efforts to exercise self-determination; maintain their cultural identity and languages; protect their territories, environment, and sacred sites; express their spiritual values and practices; and exercise sovereignty. We are committed to continuing Friends’ historic efforts to build right relationship with Native Americans, and we also extend our concern and involvement to Indigenous peoples throughout the world. Our current activities include a study group; support of specific programs in collaboration with the Navajo, Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Lakota peoples; and educational outreach to the wider Quaker community and other faith communities around the “Doctrine of Discovery” and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

We dedicate financial support to specific programs in collaboration with Indigenous organizations and seek to increase our personal connections with these groups. We currently provide financial assistance to the Native American Rights Fund (NARF),  Isna Wica Owayawa Loneman School (Pine Ridge), Youth Healing Camps (Pine Ridge), .National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition, Southern Arapaho Language Program, Toward Right Relationship (Friends Peace Team), and Right Relationship Boulder.

About the Committee

We are actively seeking new members! Please join us for a meeting or two to determine your interest. The co-conveners are Barb Stephens and Jane Westberg.

IPCC currently meets monthly. We pencil in the 2nd Wednesday of the month at 12:30. At each meeting, we confirm that date/time works for members for the following month. We will gladly modify to accommodate the schedule of new members. Zoom has been used during 2020 and, for members out of town or otherwise, will continue to be used in the future.


Resources for Land Acknowledgements

In June, 2021, the Boulder IPC Committee, in partnership with Ft. Collins Meeting, will present an Interest Group at IMYM on Land Acknowledgements. Please refer to the attached document for supplemental information on Land Acknowledgements, why they matter, examples, references, and possible steps towards developing one.

Click Here Land Acknowledgements IMYM Supplemental for the document


Toward Right Relationship with America’s Native Peoples

The Toward Right Relationship with Native Peoples project (TRR) was developed under Boulder Friends Meeting. In September 2019, TRR became a part of the Friends Peace Teams. Friends Peace Teams is a Spirit-led organization working to develop long term relationships with communities in conflict around the world to create programs for peace building, healing, and reconciliation.

Indigenous leaders are calling on people of faith to raise awareness about the historical and ongoing injustices committed against Native Peoples, and to seek ways of building right relationship with them in accord with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In response to this call and with the advice of Native American educators, the Indigenous Peoples Concerns Committee developed a 2-hour workshop called, “Roots of Injustice, Seeds of Change: Toward Right Relationship with America’s Native Peoples.”  Current information on this workshop and TRR can now be found at Friends Peace Teams.

Gerald One Feather

Awarded Honorary Doctoral Degree
At the Spring, 2013 University of Colorado Commencement, Gerald One Feather, longtime friend of the Boulder Friends Meeting, was awarded an honorary doctoral degree for his outstanding contributions in Lakota education and other areas.  Click for more

Remember Gerald One Feather by Martin Cobin

Repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery

In solidarity with initiatives led by Indigenous leaders and a growing number of religious organizations, the Boulder Friends Meeting repudiates the “Doctrine of Discovery.” Click to read the Minute

For more information and resources on the Doctrine of Discovery, click here.

Implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

In order to build relationships with Indigenous Peoples founded in equity and justice, we affirm and support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Click to read the Minute

To read a report by Friends Committee on National Legislation about implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the United States, click here.

For more information and resources on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, click here

Support the Sand Creek Massacre Spiritual Healing Run

“There is a bluff near Chivington, Colorado, overlooking Big Sandy Creek where you can hear women and children crying in the wind. This remote spot is the place where 160 Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians were murdered by Colonel John M. Chivington’s militiamen….no one was ever punished.” — Walter R. Echo-Hawk

Boulder Friends feel called to support a healing process that the Cheyenne and Arapaho people themselves initiated 14 years ago. Elders from the communities in Montana, Wyoming, and Oklahoma bring young runners to the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site each November. There they conduct prayer ceremonies and the young people continue to carry the prayers in their Spiritual Healing Run.

See “How Does Healing Happen?” Boulder Camera Guest Commentary, October 2012, by Paula Palmer and Aya Medrud.

Books about Native Americans for Children and Teens